Value of Running a Race

Running a test or tune-up race before your goal race can provide invaluable preparation for achieving your goal. The experience of running a race is more than just showing up at the start line. Running a test race will help you figure out how to deal with nerves, confidence and self-control. You may also have to deal with traffic jams, inadequate parking, delayed start times, bad weather, a shortage of portapotties or many other situations that crop up in a race environment. A test race can help you put the mental and physical pieces together for your best performance.


We encourage runners to run a test race prior to their “A” race so that you can practice nutrition, clothing, pacing, hydration and test your fitness level, etc. Marathoners in the class should consider running a half marathon, 10 mile or 10K race while the Half Marathon runners in the class should consider a 10 mile or 10K race. 


If you have run a recent race, you can input your results into a running calculator to help you get an objective idea of what goal race pace is possible for you. If you run your race as a race (instead of as a training run), the information you receive from a running calculator will be more accurate. There are many online running pace calculators and below are a few options. (A Race Pace calculator is also available in the App Store on your iPhone):


By entering the time and distance from your race into an online running pace calculator, and then selecting the “calculate” button, you will receive a variety of information including Race Paces, Training and Equivalent. Selecting the Equivalent tab provides a list of finish times and race paces for a variety of distances including the marathon and half marathon. The Pace/Mile listed for your goal marathon or half marathon is the pace you should practice during race pace workouts. Be sure to talk to the coaches if you have questions about this or if the pace seems unrealistic to you. To determine whether you are running your long and easy runs too fast or too slow along with suggested training paces for other types of workouts, you can select the calculation for appropriate training paces.


When you run a test race, don’t underestimate the accumulated fatigue of training and make sure to put your test race time in perspective. Marathon training can be a tiring two or three months with many highs and lows.